It happened 10 years ago this week, and it took 10 minutes. It was Orange County's worst homicide.
On July 12, 1976, Edward Charles Allaway, a janitor at Cal State Fullerton, made history as a mass murderer. Using a .22-caliber rifle, he shot nine co-workers at close range, killing seven. Left dead were two fellow janitors, a photographer, a retired professor, a graphics artist, a library assistant and an audio technician.
He was found not guilty by reason of insanity.
Jurors could not reach a verdict in the sanity phase of the trial, so Orange County Superior Court Judge Robert P. Kneeland, now retired, ruled that Allaway was insane. Kneeland said he doubted that Allaway would ever be released from a mental hospital.
Today, after a decade of treatment, Allaway says he is sane and has asked that the court move him to a half-way house or to a less restrictive hospital setting. "If you want to be a human being, in all sense of the human being--laughter, love, sadness, sorrow, the whole bit--you cannot be in here," Allaway said.
Now 47, he was interviewed the other day at Atascadero State Hospital, a 1,000-bed, high-security facility 20 miles north of San Luis Obispo.
"I have these feelings," he said. "I've regained them, and I'm fighting to get into a better place, a better setting for myself."
Allaway, who spent a month in a Michigan mental hospital in 1971, said he went crazy at Fullerton because co-workers in the campus media center taunted him about pornographic movies that, they joked, might have been made there. The movies, they kidded Allaway, might even have starred his attractive, 22-year-old wife.
In addition, Allaway, once a Baptist Sunday school teacher, was deeply offended by the obscene graffiti and homosexual activity he found in a men's restroom, he said.
"I would walk in to clean, and the men would say, 'Let's make it a threesome' or something, and I would say, 'Gosh no, I'm trying to make a buck, leave me alone,' " he recalled.
In October, 1985, Allaway took his first step toward release from Atascadero by filing documents in Orange County Superior Court asking that he be moved to Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino.
The Orange County district attorney's office vehemently opposed his request, saying the "return of Mr. Allaway to a facility near Orange County would only serve to inflame local passions and inflict more suffering on the relatives and survivors of Mr. Allaway's murderous rampage."
After a Dec. 13, 1985, court hearing, Allaway's Orange County public defender persuaded him to withdraw his request--a move Allaway now says he regrets.
Under California law, Allaway is entitled to a sanity hearing every year. If his psychiatrists say he is sane, he can present his case to a jury. If the jury believes him and decides in his favor, he can, deputy public defender James Schumacher said, be released without restrictions.
Not surprisingly, Allaway's bid for freedom has infuriated and shaken the victims' relatives, including Patricia Almazan, whose father, graphics artist Frank Teplansky, was shot several times by Allaway.
She says the insanity plea was a ruse.
"There is a fine line between anger and insanity, and the fine line wasn't crossed," insists Almazan, an Upland free-lance writer.
Through years of piecing together shreds of information and innuendo, Almazan is convinced that in 1976 Allaway was about to "blow the whistle" on the "decadent behavior" of his co-workers and the people around him.
According to trial testimony, media center employees were showing commercially produced pornographic films. After the murders, campus police seized about 20 such films. Some people close to the case, including Almazan, believe that pornographic films might even have been made at the university, although no evidence of that ever has been presented.
Allaway said his co-workers repeatedly told him that his wife, Bonnie, was appearing in the films, but he never saw any films to prove it.
Bonnie Allaway, then a banquet waitress at the Hilton Inn in Anaheim, was a pretty, vivacious, strawberry blonde. She had moved out of their apartment about two months before the killings, before divorcing him. Bonnie Allaway has since changed her name and moved out of the area.
Michael Riley, a media center photographer, denies that any pornographic movies were made on campus. He said the staff produced one 16-millimeter film about counseling techniques for a high school, but that was all. "We had a basic camera and a few lights," said Riley in a recent interview. "We were in the infancy of our television studio."
Riley, who was not at work on the day of the murders, said no one in the media center wants to see Allaway released. "They want to see him buttoned up," he said. "He is not forgotten here."